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Influence of starvation on the larval development ofHyas araneus (Decapoda, Majidae)

Abstract

The influence of starvation on larval development of the spider crabHyas araneus (L.) was studied in laboratory experiments. No larval stage suffering from continual lack of food had sufficient energy reserves to reach the next instar. Maximal survival times were observed at four different constant temperatures (2°, 6°, 12° and 18 °C). In general, starvation resistance decreased as temperatures increased: from 72 to 12days in the zoea-1, from 48 to 18 days in the zoea-2, and from 48 to 15 days in the megalopa stage. The length of maximal survival is of the same order of magnitude as the duration of each instar at a given temperature. “Sublethal limits” of early starvation periods were investigated at 12 °C: Zoea larvae must feed right from the beginning of their stage (at high food concentration) and for more than one fifth, approximately, of that stage to have at least some chance of surviving to the next instar, independent of further prey availability. The minimum time in which enough reserves are accumulated for successfully completing the instar without food is called “point-of-reserve-saturation” (PRS). If only this minimum period of essential initial feeding precedes starvation, development in both zoeal stages is delayed and mortality is greater, when compared to the fed control. Starvation periods beginning right after hatching of the first zoea cause a prolongation of this instar and, surprisingly, a slight shortening of the second stage. The delay in the zoea-1 increases proportionally to the length of the initial fasting period. If more than approximately 70 % of the maximum possible survival time has elapsed without food supply, the larvae become unable to recover and to moult to the second stage even when re-fed (“point-of-no-return”, PNR). The conclusion, based on own observations and on literature data, is that initial feeding is of paramount importance in the early development of planktotrophic decapod larvae. Taking into account hormonal and other developmental processes during the first moult cycle, a general hypothesis is proposed to explain the key role of first food uptake as well as the response pattern of the zoea-1 stage to differential starvation periods.

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Contribution to research project “Experimentelle Marine Ökosystemanalyse” sponsored by Bundesministerium für Forschung und Technologie, Bonn (Grant No. MFU-0328/1).

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Anger, K., Dawirs, R.R. Influence of starvation on the larval development ofHyas araneus (Decapoda, Majidae). Helgoländer Meeresunters 34, 287–311 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02074124

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